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In an anthropomorphic mixed-species medieval world, Stannis, the eighteen-year-old rabbit narrator, sells himself into slavery at the Slavers’ Guildhall in Jazinsk’s capital for the 100 ducats it will bring to his impoverished mother, and to remove one mouth to feed among his large family. He immediately begins to learn his new status:
The [slave] lynx’s eyes widened, snapping away from mine to look over my shoulder. A moment later, a single clawtip touched the back of my neck, just above the collar that had already begun to itch. ‘That was your one free mistake,’ the [raccoon] slaver said, her voice suddenly full of ice. ‘I warned you before you crossed that threshold: your life is no longer your own. At this point, it no longer matters what happens to you. If I were a harsh master, I’d have beaten you the instant you spoke. If I were a cruel one, I’d have beat you before I collared you and made you thank me for being owned. You won’t always be told the rules. They may change without warning. They may not exist. Regardless, you must do your best to obey. Eventually, you’ll fail, and even if you don’t, you’ll still suffer for it. I’ll try to teach you the basics of your new life, but I will not hesitate to reprimand you, even for rules you do not yet know. Do you understand?’ (p. 8)
Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold is a novel of humiliation. Primarily sexual humiliation, described in graphic detail, but whatever kind his masters, their families, and his fellow slaves can put Stannis into.
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